Sunday, December 21, 2008

#50 Bob, the Lost Dog.

The final article of 50 Gs must be a very special G-Shock. When starting in January I already had several G-Shocks in my mind.
Quite some yellow models by the way. Men In Yellow Frogman, yellow Raysman Yachttimer and "of course", my Codename by Aurèle. I have 5 of them! I would not be surprised if this will be one of the largest articles with the most photo's.
I still remember the auction of the first one. "Agnes b G-Shock". I had no idea who Agnes b was, but the striking yellow color immediately draw my attention. Sightly used, in good condition.
Although not in original box, the watch looked almost like new. A perfect watch for short sleeve shirts.
Nowhere the name Agnes b was to be found on the watch itself. The tag on the double Velcro watchband says "Collector by Aurèle".
A search lead to Marc Aurèle, but strangely there was nothing to find about a designer with this name. Only a painter of the 19th century and some kind of king around the 2nd century. Both not very much probable the designers of this watch.
Actually for years I was convinced the name of the designer was Marc Aurèle. When I later got one complete in a box the name was even written on the sticker, along with the announcement that only 1200 were sold in Germany (1200 stück Bundesweit).
For writing this article I wanted to know more about the designer. When a search for Marc Aurèle didn't give the satisfying answer again, I tried different key words.Marc Aurèle and Agnes b didn't give results... Why was that name linked to Agnes b? Strange. Other things first.
The battery was weak, so first I replaced the battery. This watch has a very beautiful back with all kinds of texts and a dog etched on it. When the battery was replaced I decided to google on Aurèle and parts of the texts (antecedent comportement).
Bingo! It lead straight to Aurèle's website. Great Flash design and very informative. The deep yellow color, the same as that is used for the Codename, is found back on a lot of his design, paintings and sculptures. I must be right on track.
Unfortunately the website is completely in French, a beautiful language, but unfortunately French was also my weakest subject at school. While I got straight A's for chemistry, physics, biology, math, and economics, I was already happy if I managed to get an E- for French. I even had to stay at school on my free afternoon, writing over the French vocabulaire. It didn't help much. I'm just probably weak in my languages.My French slightly improved along the years during my (almost) yearly vacations to France, but still it was not sufficient enough to understand all the texts.
Luckily it wasn't only texts on the website. For hours I have enjoyed the eye candy. Specially the T-Shirts that he made in Agnes b's "Artist series".
Well, that connection is confirmed. Also I like a lot of his dog sculptures and his design for the "Lost Dog" museum for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, was even food for a friend of me, who is a teacher in architecture. This museum is a gigantic yellow dog (80 meters, 240 ft) that rises in the Shanghai skyline. Inside the museum, visitors can visit various expositions of contemporary art. Of course the G-Shock and Baby-G he designed in 1997.This still made me wonder why I couldn't find this website with the keywords "Marc and Aurèle". The architect of a remarkable building of the skyline of Shanghai must be a known man?I read a lot of press releases, but the name Marc was never mentioned. Only his last name is his trademark (Aurèle by Aurèle) .Finally I found a piece on the French Wikipedia. His name is not Marc, but Ricard (October 24th, 1963). Finally I found it, assuming this Wikipedia entry tells the truth. As it is part of a series Contemporary Art , I think it's very reliable.
In 1986 Aurèle sees a poster on a lamppost. It was a poster for a "Bob the Lost Dog". He thought it was a good metaphor for our own lives, as we are confronted with wars, pollution, epidemics, etc.
This dog, a sort of pitbull, now returns in a lot of Aurèle's work. From paintings, statues, T-shirt designs for Agnes b to a collaboration G-Shock and a Baby-G model for Casio.
Aurèle also uses a lot of phrases. As he claims to be inspired by contemporary artists like Warhol, he likes to add political statements. I don't think you can call these statements, like "You are wonderful and I love you" and "Le despoir est une insult a l'avenir" very political, they are more statements of life.
Some of these statements are written on the box. The most eye catching is "Positive Yellow". In Germany this model was even called "Positive Yellow".
I think "Positive Yellow" is a very strong phrase. When wearing this G-Shock, or a yellow Raysman, Riseman, Gaussman or Frogman, it seems to give so much positive energy. I believe Casio had adopted the term for their yellow models in the late 90's.
Enough background for now. I can very much recommend to watch Aurèles website. Lets take a closer look at the watch of subject.
Like the recent A.D.M.A. Model here, this is also a DW-8800 Codename Cypher model.
Originally the watch is sold in a box with a thick multi language manual and a hexagonal box. Some people call these boxes Haru cans.I have no idea what Haru means and if this is an official name or Japanese nickname.
Between 1997 and 2000 these boxes were used to pack every G-Shock sold. The basic boxes have the "G" logo printed in the middle. The box coming with this Aurèle model is of cource designed by him.
The big "G" logo is still there, but he creativily made it "O! Genial".
A big surprise if you open de box. Normally you only find the watch in the hexagonal box, the box of the Aurèle G-Shock is packed full. While the watch comes originally with a double Velcro watchband, an extra set leather/cloth straps are included. If you want to change the straps, you need a springbar tool, so a small springbar tool is included. I'm not sure if you want to use it. It looks rather fragile. I rather use one of my own for that, but it's a nice gesture from Casio. Wait, it's not over yet, Casio also packed a dust cloth and all stuff barely fits in the box.
One of the most striking, though probably pretty useless function, is the Morse function. The Aurèle model has the 1443 (overseas) module, while the A.D.M.A. has the 1444 (domestic) module. Therefore playing with the Aurèle Codename Morse function is for us a lot easier. While you have to scroll through all Katakana characters before reaching alphanumeric characters on the 1444 module, the 1443 module only has alphanumeric characters.
The functions are the same as the A.D.M.A.models. Contact mode (Telememo), Mission mode (appointment alarm), Morse mode, Vital Statistics, one alarm and a stopwatch.The Codename Cipher is packed with features.
To explain the Morse mode features I made a small video. Probably this video tells more than the, so called, 1000 words.

The video also shows the beautiful bright EL-backlight with the dog and a heart in it.
I hope you enjoyed the 50 Gs series. Though it took me some articles to get into writing, I must say I really enjoyed the research and writing. Good Casio showed up with "G-Shock Perfect Search" (GPS). It helped me very much. Please leave comments and support if you would like a second series. First of all, my arm must heal.
BTW, it seems someone found Bob on Queens Blvd. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New G-Year. Best wishes,

Sjors, The Netherlands.


Anonymous said...

congratulations on the completion of your "mission" Sjors!

that was indeed an interesting and comprehensive write-up of a special watch.

do consider a second series in 2009. am sure you have more than enough g-shocks to blog about.

best wishes for Christmas and the new year ahead and may your arm be back in action soon.

cheers. dave.

Riley said...

This is a great read Sjors. I didn't know all that history, so it was nice to learn the origin and everything. Thanks for putting it all together.

I'm really curious about that big yellow do museum in Shanghai. That sounds really crazy.

I'm looking forward to seeing more from you.

laurent said...

great job, interesting to find out more about the origin of a watch.

hope there will be more in 2009.

happy christmas + new year, and get well soon!


MoA said...

I love Bob the Lost Dog and think that it is one of the most outstanding building i have never seen. Really hope to see it next year. I am just concerned that the lost dog metaphot does not match with the Shanghai Government which usually prefer more re-assuring message than metaphor on human conditions - Also the yellow color might not work well here since the government is censoring all things yellow from Internet - Cheers and good luck

macspite said...

One of these came up for sale from a member of the forum I belong to - - I read your article and had to have the watch as I like objects with interesting stories.

So it is all your fault that I am spending money!

Seriously Sjors, thank you for such a great collection of articles and your contributions to the G-Shock world.

Best regards, Rob

Unknown said...

Hi Sjors (cool name by the way) :)

I recently got my hands on this watch. Was so excited that I immediately switch to the leather strap with the included tool. However, the fit is so tight, that there is no way I can remove the leather strap to change it back. There is basically no gap for me to use the tool. I don't wanna damage the pin post or the leather strap. Any advice? Pls help!


Unknown said...

Hi Gruv,

The tool provided is not a very professional tool. I would rather use a decent springbar tool. The gap might seen tight, but if you are careful, you should be able to pry your tool to the springbar attachment and push the springbar open. Good luck.